Chow Bella

Just in Time for Summer: Julian Wright's Gringo Star Street Bar Is Open in Tempe

It may be lacking a few finishing design flourishes, but Gringo Star Street Bar, destined to be the coolest new hangout on Mill Avenue, is up and running and has been since last Thursday. Owner Julian Wright says he wanted to "capitalize on the graduation market" and did. The place was packed the first day.

See also: -- Tempe Restaurateur Julian Wright To Open Cool, Concept-y New Bar on Mill in March -- Tempe's Gringo Star Street Bar Opens Today -- Here's a Sneak Peek at its Art and Arcade Games

And why not? It sounds like the perfect spot for ASU students and Mill Avenue strollers to grab a little diversion, which is Wright's fortè despite his emerging reputation as the guy who brings a touch of class to Mill Avenue.

Wright calls his new operation, located on the southeast corner of Fifth Street and Mill, a "multidimensional bar," offering arcade games, a sports component (meaning, it's a great place to watch sports on multiple TVs) and a built-into-the-wall replication of a food truck, offering up an eclectic mix of food truck fare. The cavernous space was actually home to Wright's first Mill Avenue venture -- The Library Bar & Grill -- which played to the same party-hearty crowd.

The Mill Avenue entrepreneur brought in famous artist Steve Hickok (shown in galleries from Santa Fe to Paris) and other local artists who specialize in street art to do their thing in the venue. Their eye-popping work is displayed on the walls, the bar, and even in the bathrooms. Wright calls it a "gallery" of that style.

And for those who'd rather eat, drink, and be merry in the Great Outdoors, Wright also provides two huge patios and an indoor-outdoor bar.

As for the food truck, here's the drill: Customers order and pay at the window, then wait 'til their buzzers go off to pick up their food. The menu includes Korean-spiced short ribs, street corn, falafel and hummus, a Chicago hot dog, bacon-wrapped dog or turkey brat, a green chile pokr sandwich with white beans and fry bread, BBQ pork skewers, lettuce wraps and for dessert, a doughnut served with berries and cream or banana and Nutella.

Sounds like the perfect distraction for summer. Hours are: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. every day.

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Nikki Buchanan